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Zimbabwe Attracts 2 New Investors to Develop Platinum Mining Projects

FILE - A worker drives a vehicle at Zimplats' Ngwarati Mine in Mhondoro-Ngezi May 30, 2014. Leaked documents allege Zimplats used an offshore company to pay management salaries without the knowledge of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

MHONDORO-NGEZI, Zimbabwe (Reuters) - Zimbabwe will in coming weeks name two new investors who will develop separate platinum mining projects west of the capital as the country ramps up mining output in an attempt to ease a severe dollar shortage, the mines minister said on Wednesday

The southern African nation has the second largest platinum deposits after South Africa and hopes to transform its economy by boosting investment in the mining sector.

Winston Chitando said the two investors would be confirmed in the next few weeks, joining a sector where Anglo American Platinum and Impala Platinum already operate.

Chitando, who was speaking at a function in Mhondoro Ngezi, 100 km west of Harare, where Cypriot Investor Karo Resources was giving an update on its $4.2 billion mining project, declined to give details.

Zimbabwe has been introducing investor-friendly policies as part of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ambitions to transform the country into a middle-income economy by 2030.

Last month, the government said it would scrap the controversial indigenisation law under which foreign companies are restricted to owning only 49 percent of their Zimbabwean operations.

The mines ministry is also in talks with the Chamber of Mines about reviewing and streamlining mining taxes to make them more competitive, the president of the industry body said last week.

Chatando said Zimbabwe expected mining export revenues to rise by nearly a third to $4.2 billion this year, stepping towards a target of $12 billion by 2023.

The two new mining ventures would be situated in the Mhondoro-Ngezi platinum belt where Karo intends to start production next year and where Implats has the country’s biggest mining operation, Chitando said.

Phoevos Pouroulis, CEO of Karo, said at the same function that exploration work was ahead of schedule and the company expected to confirm the underground platinum resources by the end of the year.

Pouroulis is also CEO of South African miner Tharisa, which last year bought a 26.8 percent stake in Karo and a majority holding in a Zimbabwean chrome operation.

Zimbabwe’s platinum is found on the Great Dyke belt, which stretches for more than 500 kilometers and contains an estimated 96 million ounces in platinum group metals, including platinum and palladium. (Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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